United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
DEGUILIO JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Rushlow, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a habeas corpus
petition challenging a disciplinary hearing (ISP 18-03-417)
where a Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) found him guilty
of aiding and abetting in the assault of another offender in
violation of Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) policies
A-102 and A-111 on April 12, 2018. ECF 1 at 1. As a result,
he was sanctioned with the loss of 60 days earned credit time
and a one-step demotion in credit class. Id. The
Warden has filed the administrative record and Rushlow has
filed a traverse. Thus this case is fully briefed.
Fourteenth Amendment guarantees prisoners certain procedural
due process rights in prison disciplinary hearings: (1)
advance written notice of the charges; (2) an opportunity to
be heard before an impartial decision-maker; (3) an
opportunity to call witnesses and present documentary
evidence in defense, when consistent with institutional
safety and correctional goals; and (4) a written statement by
the fact-finder of evidence relied on and the reasons for the
disciplinary action. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539 (1974). To satisfy due process, there must also be
“some evidence” in the record to support the
guilty finding. Superintendent, Mass. Corr Inst. v.
Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 455 (1985).
context of a prison disciplinary hearing, “the relevant
question is whether there is any evidence in the record that
could support the conclusion reached by the disciplinary
board.” Hill, 472 U.S. at 455-56. “In
reviewing a decision for some evidence, courts are not
required to conduct an examination of the entire record,
independently assess witness credibility, or weigh the
evidence, but only determine whether the prison disciplinary
board's decision to revoke good time credits has some
factual basis.” McPherson v. McBride, 188 F.3d
784, 786 (7th Cir. 1999) (quotation marks omitted).
[T]he findings of a prison disciplinary board [need only]
have the support of some evidence in the record. This is a
lenient standard, requiring no more than a modicum of
evidence. Even meager proof will suffice, so long as the
record is not so devoid of evidence that the findings of the
disciplinary board were without support or otherwise
arbitrary. Although some evidence is not much, it still must
point to the accused's guilt. It is not our province to
assess the comparative weight of the evidence underlying the
disciplinary board's decision.
Webb v. Anderson, 224 F.3d 649, 652 (7th Cir. 2000)
(quotation marks, citations, parenthesis, and ellipsis
Rushlow was found guilty of violating IDOC offenses A-102 and
A-111 because he aided and abetted in the assault of another
offender. Specifically, IDOC offense A-102 prohibits inmates
from “[k]nowingly or intentionally touching another
person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner; or in a rude,
insolent, or angry manner placing any bodily fluid or bodily
waste on another person.” Indiana Department of
Correction, Adult Disciplinary Process: Appendix I.
offense A-111 prohibits inmates from “[a]ttempting by
one's self or with another person or conspiring or aiding
and abetting with another person to commit any Class A
offense.” See Appendix I, supra.
Burke wrote a conduct report charging Rushlow as follows:
On March 21, 2018 at approximately 1:08pm, Offender Rushlow,
Nicholas DOC #968135, can be seen aiding and abetting the
assault against another offender in ACH. Offender Rushlow was
with the suspect before and during the time of the incident.
ECF 12-1 at 1. He also prepared a report of investigation,
On March 21, 2018, Offender Williamson, Jerry DOC #250668
approached the Officer's Station in ACH with multiple
stab wounds. The cameras were reviewed which showed Offenders
Worden, Michael DOC #132350 and Rushlow, Nicholas DOC #968135
go into Offender Williamson's cell. Offender Rushlow came
out of the cell, followed by Offenders Worden and Williamson.
Offenders Worden and Williamson began fighting on the flag.
During an interview with Offender Worden, he admitted to
punching Offender Williamson.
ECF 12-1 at 2.
March 27, 2018, Rushlow was notified of the charge when he
was served with the conduct and screening reports. ECF 12-1
at 1, ECF 12-2 at 1. During his screening, he requested a
“statement from the person that was written in the
conduct report.” ECF 12-2 at 1. He also asked to view
the video footage of the incident asserting the footage would
show him simply “walking away” from the assault
instead of participating in it. Id.
April 9, 2018, the hearing officer reviewed the video footage